The National Association of Large Families (ANFN) of Italy, chaired by the Hon. Mario Sberna, has addressed all the parties engaged in the election campaign with a document aimed at drawing their attention to the fundamental issue of the Family and the articulation of a series of interventions that can no longer be avoided.
The birth of a child is one of the most important moments, if not the most important, in a couple’s life. The joy arising from the opening up to life, a joy that also infects all the people in the family and friends, also corresponds to a new perception of the parents’ future, broadening their time horizon. A new birth also gives that emotional and motivational charge that makes one face life, including relationships and work, with a new drive.
But a new birth not only involves the personal and individual sphere of the people involved, as it also has a fundamental impact on society. A society that is younger and has more children than the current situation will be a society that tends to be more dynamic, more effective, more forward-looking. And it will be more sustainable, because more children and more young people will be able to guarantee tomorrow, with their work, the sustainability of the economy, the pension and health system and welfare in general, as well as the public debt. To achieve this, however, a major change of course is needed. And the litmus test is large families, those with three and more children, for two fundamental reasons.
The first reason is indicated to us by ISTAT. Today, the birth of a child is the second most common cause of poverty in Italy, right after the loss of a job by the head of the family. by the head of the family. And large families are the absolute poorest, in a trend that has been growing steadily for more than 15 years.
The second reason is linked to the denatality that characterises our country. Families with 3 and more children play a demographically important role, because they mediate couples who have no children or only 1 child, to the average of 2 children per woman, necessary for demographic balance. Today, however, the index has fallen to 1.25 children per woman mainly due to the combined effect of the doubling (from 11% to 22%) of childless women, and the concomitant sharp reduction in the number of large families, resulting from the lack of effective family policies that has characterised recent years and that has particularly affected families with multiple children, as highlighted by poverty data. To reverse this situation, targeted interventions are needed in several areas. The National Association of Large Families has identified 13 of them, which are listed below and made available to the electoral programmes of the parties and individual candidates in the general election in 2022.
Universal Single Allowance: Revision and simplification through an increase in the minimum amount from 50 to 125 euros, and an additional amount of 125 euros decoupled from ISEE, calculated on net income, and taking into account family loads, as for the old family allowances.
Tax system: With the elimination of child allowances, the Italian tax system, unlike all other European countries, does not implement the principle of horizontal equity, which takes into account how many people live on the income to be taxed. It is proposed to introduce a no-tax area for each tax dependent member, which takes into account the costs maintenance and child-raising costs. The no-tax area, also valid for the calculation of regional and municipal surtaxes, can be used as an alternative to the Universal Single Allowance, at the taxpayer’s choice.
ISEE (personal income tax) revision: Use of ISEE only for policies related to the fight against poverty, and not to family policies. Revision of ISEE from equivalence scales, to be aligned with increment costs. Use of net income instead of gross. Increase in asset allowances, in particular for the first home, taking into account family loads and debts. Possibility for local authorities to change ISEE parameters, in a more favourable direction for families, for the purpose of determining the fees of their services.
VAT reduction: Tax reduction from 22% to 4% for baby nappies and all basic necessities for children.
Youth work: Integration between the world of work and school, from secondary school to university, with the involvement of training institutions. Citizenship work for young people with social and environmental aims in support of municipalities and local authorities. Facilitations for companies in the temporary hiring of young people.
Housing: Development of Social Housing within urban planning instruments, and other aids such as ‘Help to Buy’ (UK), subsidised and guaranteed mortgages, rent guarantee fund. Tax concessions and support for young couples, with recognition when children are born.
Kindergartens: Adaptation of supply to family demand. Economic support to families and managers (public and private) for the attendance of kindergartens, also in the different typologies (company kindergartens, family crèches, micro-crèches, family educators, Tagesmutters, etc.).
Work-family harmonisation policies: Extension and facilitation of access to part time. Temporal and economic extension of parental leave to both parents. Family Audit certification for companies and P.A. Network of Family Friendly Municipalities: State incentives for local administrations to join the Network of Family Friendly Municipalities.
Specific interventions for large families
Large Families as a Natality Lab: In the various interventions concerning tax, tariff, labour, pension, housing and other policies, special consideration must be given to families with three and more children, as enshrined in Article 31 of the Constitution. This is so that the status of large family can become a position to aspire to in Italy, with positive effects on the birth rate.
Family Card: Reactivation of the Family Card with incentives to companies that adhere to it. Involvement of ministries for discounts related to their sector (e.g. Culture, Sport, Transport, etc.). Involvement of family associations for local conventions.
Mother’s Option: Acknowledgement, for pension purposes, of one year of notional contributions for each child (including those in foster care and adoption) to be considered not only as a contribution mount, but also for the purposes of determining the starting date of the early retirement pension.
One Child, One Vote: Introduction of the principle ‘One Child, One Vote’, through which parents are granted an additional proxy vote for each child in their interest (odd numbered children to the mother, even numbered to the father; in the absence of one parent, the other parent has the vote, and both parents to the guardian)